Center launches the COVID Reset Project to explore how the pandemic has reshaped life in America

Five-year survey will track broad societal change during the recovery

September 27, 2021 — COVID-19 produced unprecedented change in every aspect of life in America. As the nation emerges from the pandemic, the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg has begun a five-year, seven-part study of daily life, work, and society to understand change and opportunities in a post-pandemic world.

“The end of the COVID-19 pandemic marks the first time since the end of World War II that we as Americans are reconsidering everything in our lives – how we live, what we buy, how we work, and how we entertain ourselves,” said Jeffrey I Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future (CDF).

“After a year of confinement by COVID-19, we have an extraordinary opportunity to explore issues that affect everyone as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Cole. “As society begins to rethink work schedules, travel plans, the nature of schools, the changes in entertainment, and the future of cities, we need to understand the temporary effects as well as long-term change.”

Seven major sectors examined quarterly

Along with Bovitz Inc., the Center’s research partner, the COVID Reset Project is conducting studies of views and behavior about seven distinct yet overlapping sectors: health, entertainment, homes, learning, shopping, travel, and work – each analyzed and reported quarterly.

“We believe five years will be necessary to distinguish among the COVID behaviors that quickly revert to pre-pandemic levels, those that may take 1-4 years to return, and change that is permanent,” said Cole.

CDF will also publish a separate study that explores views about COVID and how the public is coping with end of the pandemic.

The COVID Reset Project builds on the two groundbreaking studies that explored the social impact of the disease, and how Americans were coping. Those surveys found tremendous changes in personal behavior (eating, drinking), mental health, media use, buying habits, work patterns, and learning methods.

CDF will publish quarterly findings from each study, totaling 28 reports each year. Working with the USC Marshall School of Business, CDF will prepare business forecasts for the sectors projecting issues and trends over the next quarter.

CDF will produce reports, presentations and supporting data for each study, and will conduct briefings for governments, businesses, nonprofits and others.

About the Center for the Digital Future

For more than 20 years, the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg ( has explored the impact of digital technologies on the behavior and views of users and non-users. The center also studies disruption in the lives of Americans and the corporate world.